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Finder icon to icns file

A quick way I just discovered to get an .icns file out of any Finder icon, using no third-party software.

  • Select an icon in the Finder. Copy it to the clipboard.
  • Open Preview. Hit command-N to create a document with the clipboard contents.
  • From the preview drawer, drag the top icon (labeled “Untitled Image #”) to icns Browser.
  • Note that icns Browser has no Save command. However you can drag the proxy icon from the title bar and drop it while holding down the Command or Option keys. You’ll have an icns file.

5 comments on “Finder icon to icns file”

  1. Ethan Goldberg
    21 June 2006 | 6:28 AM

    This is just what I’m looking for, except my brain isn’t in gear:

    • I opened the clipboard version of the finder icon in Preview.
    • I opened the icns browser.
    • Although it’s not clear to me where in the browser to drag the preview drawer icon, I tried a variety of places.
    • The browser seems to accept the dragged icon, but I have no idea where it goes — or how to retrieve it as an .icns image. If I search on “resources” in the browser, I get a zillion listings. Will the .icns image somehow be listed someplace there?

    Need a little assistance with this — thanks.

  2. 21 June 2006 | 9:39 AM

    Just drag it to the icns Browser icon in the Finder, or on the Dock, or wherever.

  3. Dylan
    28 November 2006 | 11:42 PM

    Awesome little trick, exactly what I needed. Thanks.

  4. no
    18 October 2009 | 12:00 PM

    So, where can I find the icns browser?

  5. 18 October 2009 | 12:34 PM

    It was part of the Xcode developer tools at one point. It seems to be gone by Snow Leopard, but this procedure is no longer necessary in Snow Leopard. Instead, after opening Preview and pressing Command-N, simply click the arrow icon to “close the book” in the sidebar or do a Select All. Then, you can drag the item(s) out of the sidebar to create an .icns file.

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